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Single slice of brown sugar cheesecake with sour cream topping on a white plate. Silver fork and white background.

Brown Sugar Cheesecake

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4.8 from 13 reviews

Creamy, smooth, with a sour cream topping and the unmistakable caramel flavor that only brown sugar can achieve. It keeps well and can be frozen. If you're looking for a new idea for a holiday dessert, this brown sugar cheesecake is a sure hit. 

  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings



For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup toasted ground almonds
  • 6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 3 1/2 cups (760g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 4 large eggs

For the topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon


For the crust:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until it looks like wet sand.
  2. Line the bottom of a 9 inch (24cm) springform pan with aluminum foil and attach the sides.
  3. Press cookie mixture onto bottom and up sides of the pan (about 1 inch). Refrigerate while preparing the filling.

For the filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF /180ºC.
  2. In a large bowl beat cream cheese, butter and sugar until completely smooth.
  3. Add molasses, vanilla, sour cream and cream and beat just until incorporated.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, barely waiting for one to incorporate before adding the next one.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  6. Lower oven temperature to 300ºF/150ºC and bake for 40 minutes more. Keep oven on.
  7. Remove cake and carefully spread topping on. Cheesecake will be wobbly.
  8. Return to the oven, bake for another 5 minutes and turn the oven off. Leave cheesecake for one hour inside the oven without opening the door.
  9. Remove to a wire rack, let cool completely, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

For the topping:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

To serve cheesecake:

  1. Remove sides from springform pan and lift aluminum foil.
  2. Place cake on serving plate and decorate with nuts.
  3. Keep refrigerated.


  • Use a different nut in the crust. Pecans work very well too.
  • Change the bourbon for another liquor, or omit it if you prefer. Use vanilla extract with 2 tablespoons cream.
  • I like to keep it in the refrigerator (well-wrapped) for at least 24 hours before eating it.
  • Freeze it up to a month. Well wrapped in plastic and then aluminum.
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 120
  • Category: Cheesecakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1/8
  • Calories: 789
  • Sugar: 34.7 g
  • Sodium: 386.7 mg
  • Fat: 63.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 42.1 g
  • Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Protein: 15.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 251.5 mg